Effect of residency duty-hour limits: views of key clinical faculty.
Although recent data indicate that the 2003 regulations limiting housestaff work hours have not worsened patient outcomes, the effect on resident education remains unclear. This survey of key clinical faculty at 39 internal medicine residency programs evaluated the effect of the duty hour regulations on attending physicians' teaching experience and perception of resident education, professionalism, and patient care. Faculty were concerned that duty hour restrictions had led to a loss of educational opportunities, decreased continuity of care, and worsened resident–patient relationships, although faculty felt resident quality of life had improved. Attendings reported spending more time in direct patient care, but less time mentoring or evaluating residents. A prior study documented similar concerns among surgical faculty. The accompanying editorial discusses the increased demands on teaching faculty in recent years, due partly to duty hour restrictions, but also due to broader changes within the health care system that have resulted in the need for more direct involvement by attendings.